January 27, 2015
READ: Ephesians 5:1-14
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people (v.3).
A little boy’s mother baked a batch of cookies and placed them in a biscuit tin, instructing her son not to touch them until after dinner. Soon she heard the lid of the tin move, and she called out, “Son, what are you doing?” A meek voice called back, “My hand is in the biscuit tin resisting temptation.” It’s funny to think of a person trying to resist temptation with their ‘hand in the biscuit tin’. This is as much a challenge in our culture today, as it was for the Ephesians.
There were all kinds of open ‘biscuit tins’ in Ephesus. One was sexual immorality. Paul realised that illicit sexual activity was an enormous problem for new Gentile Christians in the early church to overcome. They didn’t have an accepted social standard with regard to sex.
Paul wanted the Ephesians to defy their environment and live out their identity as God’s holy children. So he reminded them that sexual immorality—adultery, premarital sex, pornography, homosexual liaisons, prostitution, sexual abuse and any other sexual perversion—was incongruent with what it meant to be imitators of Jesus (Ephesians 5:3). If they ignored this clear warning, they would miss God’s best and experience His discipline (v.6).
As believers in Jesus, it’s God’s will for us to stand out, or be holy, especially in a culture where sexual immorality is an accepted behaviour. Standing out as light for Christ means appropriating God’s Word (Psalm 119:9), controlling our bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:1-7), intentionally resisting temptation (Proverbs 7:24-25), living in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and enjoying sex within its proper limits (1 Corinthians 7:2,9). Let’s keep our hand out of the biscuit tin! —Marvin Williams
365-day plan› Genesis 43:1-34
Read Genesis 39:1-18 and see how Joseph handled the biscuit tin of sexual temptation.
Why is it such a challenge to resist sexual temptation and immorality in our culture? How can knowing our identity as God’s children help us resist sin?